Things That Annoy Me: Not Being Able To Let Things Go

couple holding up a picture frame in the garden

I’ve planned some blog content for the next few months but following a particularly aggressive rant about a lady who tutted at me over the weekend, I’ve added another series: things that annoy me. Trust me, there’s a lot of things.

Some are serious, some are seriously silly – but here’s my space to shout about it and come to terms with those irritating bits of life, without chatting Will’s ear off.

Let’s kick things off with a bang with…not being able to let go of things.

It’s one of the qualities I dislike most about myself because I find it so hard to move past things. Something could have happened years ago: a conversation, an action or incident buried deep in the past and I’ll still muddle over it and consider what could have gone better, what the correct outcome should have been, what I should have said.

Let me give you some context to how far back this goes

We were in primary school (I’m talking year five) and my brother was in year three. There was a massive campaign at the time on road safety for children, and schools brought in reflective teddies for every pupil in the UK to put on their bags. As we lined up to get them, my brother got to the front of the queue and was told by his teacher he couldn’t have one because he had apparently been naughty that day. Oh my god. I’m nearly 30 and I’m still so cross. The INJUSTICE! You’re telling me that EVERY child is entitled to this item that will likely help them be seen and NOT GET RUN OVER, but you want to be petty about it. You, a grown teacher? I think I gave him mine in the end, but I STILL think about how I should have handled it, despite the fact I was a literal child.

More recently, a situation within a close friendship group was mishandled and now, unfortunately is completely out of hand. Other people got involved without knowing the context which made things worse, and now so much time has gone by, it’s unlikely that this rift will ever be fixed. Despite this, yeah you guessed it – I can’t let it go. I move through emotions of anger, frustration and pity before ending up with crippling anxiety on a regular basis.

Why can’t I let things go?

I often ask myself this. Some people seem to breeze through life looking forward and we are often told that we shouldn’t dwell on the past and to stop worrying about things we cannot change.

I read this blog which told me: “Letting go is releasing all doubt, worry, and fear about a situation, person or outcome. It’s releasing anything that disrupts your happiness and no longer serves you on your journey”.

Oh man, I WISH I could. Like literally bye, girl, bye. But they’re still there in my skull, pushed up against all my lovely moments, my future goals and dreams.

I ain’t got room for them all so they need to vacate, sharpish.

I’m hoping that over the coming months, I’ll be able to begin releasing the grip I’ve got on things in my past. I’m starting therapy and am also working with a couple of bangin’ babes on mental wellness. I aim to:

    • Focus on things I can control
    • Differentiate between ruminating and problem-solving (guilty)
    • Create a solid plan to manage my stress
    • Develop healthy techniques and affirmations to manage and control my anxiety

If I’m able to do any ONE of these things, I will be amazed. You know when you’ve lived a certain way for so long you can’t see it changing? I hope I can though. I’m sick of lying awake at night thinking about that one person said to me in 2004, or the way I handled a situation six months ago.

From the blog above: “The present is all we have. We can’t go back and fix the past, and what happens in the future isn’t here yet. We must make an effort everyday to remember that and allow ourselves to open up and enjoy what is unfolding right in front of us: all parts of the journey both easy and hard, good and bad.”

Can you let things go? Let me know how you do it!

The Blog – Eight Years In Review

millennial pink balloons with watermelon

When I started this blog, the Instagram we know today was barely a twinkle in its father’s eye and being an ‘influencer’ wasn’t even a thing. We had celebrities and that was your lot. We kept up with them via red-tops, or if they had a documentary out – I’m looking at you Katie Price.

Ella In The Big City was started on WordPress with an in-built blog theme, of which you could choose from about five and I had great fun with it. I was proud I had my own platform to say what I liked, even if I was talking to nobody – because trust me, no one was reading it. 

Remember, this was back when Twitter had about ten members, one of which was me, all screaming into the void.

Nowadays, whilst I have a lovely audience of my own, my platform is swamped in an oversaturated market. Voices louder, better and more intelligent than my own surpass me and other people with their highly-curated ‘Personal Brand’ and large Instagram followings get book and brand deals.

I am not complaining, dude. It’s just the way of the world. I’m proud that I settled myself in for the ride many moons ago and am not hanging on the coat-tails of those who went before me. I was there before them. 

I hope to still be pissing about with words long into my old age. Did you hear? I’m getting on for 30. 

Although I’m sorry to say, in recent months I have neglected my corner of the internet and have starved it of my own words and thoughts, except for accepting some paid sponsored and contributed content. God, I am such a sell-out! I hate myself for it, I promise I’ll make it up to you.

Saying sorry to your readers or viewers for not posting in a while is something I actually find low-key cringe. Like sis, no one cares that much. No one is scanning your blog and lamenting you, cursing your name to the moon for not posting a shit shopping haul no one asked for.

But I am. Sorry, I mean. 

Life has moved too fast for me over the last few months. My entire psyche and direction I thought I was going in has changed. The headspace of the world slowing down meant that I have been able to grow a seed of self-belief and actually get on with things.

Published freelance journalist? Completed it mate. Joking, it’s a game you can never complete. Pitches are life. I’m in the club now.

I’m making the move to set myself up as a company. I mean, how crazy is that!? A few short years ago I was sitting in one of those sound-proof telephone booths in a co-working space, trying to catch my breath in the midst of a panic attack. Good one Ella, box yourself in whilst you’re feeling boxed-in, that’ll help.

Anyway, the reason I FELT so boxed-in and panicked was because I thought I’d led myself down a certain path and that was IT. I cried every night for about three months solid because that’s just the kind of person I was back then. I didn’t realise holes could be climbed out of.

They can be.

Look, I need to go because I’m tapping away and getting serious Caroline Calloway vibes from what’s coming out of my brain. Am I channeling her? Who knows, maybe. 

I promise I’ll stop being such a sell-out on the blog, write more interesting things; show you some published bits that you can be proud of me for. In return, I ask for nothing but your continued support, your wonderful cheerleading when I’m up and especially when I’m down

I seriously, seriously love my life and that’s not something I ever thought I’d say, especially back then. 

And I love you.

Ex

Mental Health Awareness Week (18th – 24th May 2020)


Well, hello there. For those that don’t know, it’s
Mental Health Awareness Week (May 18th – 24th). I had meant to write and upload this earlier in the week but ironically, I was not in a good place mentally and couldn’t do it. We move.

I don’t want to share any advice or tell people what to do when you’re feeling down – I’m just bloody pleased we are able to have this conversation. The thing is, I didn’t tell anyone for years that I suffer with Chronic Anxiety, Depression and Body Dysmorphia (christ love, want anymore diagnoses!?). Not my friends, not my partner at the time – and I massively played my illness down for anyone that knew. 

I’m better now at sharing, but still don’t shout it from the rooftops – but why don’t I? Surely it would give literally everyone I know a better understanding of how I roll and the reasons behind why I go a bit AWOL sometimes, no?

Yes, it would. But I truly believe, although in recent years talking about our mental health has come on in leaps and bounds, we still need to be better at it.

A good example of this is that sometimes I feel super self-absorbed, and like I’m only ever thinking about myself. Some days I feel so, so anxious that it’s all I can do to get out of bed, force myself to wash, eat.

In those moments, feeling like I’d rather claw my own skin off than spend another second in my body, it’s hard to imagine that anyone else has ever, ever felt this bad in the history of time. How do you even ask the question? Hey buddy, you ever feel so low you want to smash every mirror in your house and eat the shards? This way of thinking was cemented when I was talking to a friend a few days ago who mentioned that she had recently been suffering with bad anxiety and panic attacks. I was gutted for her that she felt so low and we spoke about coping mechanisms and shared experiences. After our conversation, I was like…oh my god…other people are feeling down, too! Don’t make it all about yourself! You’re so inward-facing you can’t even tell when your friends are upset! Ah, the old reliable negative self-talk.

I vocalised this to Will that evening and he put a completely different spin on it for me (like he often does, the lovely soul). You’re not self-absorbed OR selfish, he said, you’ve isolated yourself into thinking it’s just you. It isn’t. Start the conversation and you may find so many others in the same hole as you – try to help each other to dig your way out.

One in four people will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Unfortunately, mental health services are heavily, heavily over capacity and it can be very difficult to receive the help from counsellors or therapists, unless you have the financial means to pay for it. Often, people are discharged from the service without having received the best care

Personally, I have been on a waiting list for 1:1 specialised therapy for five months, with no indication of how long the wait will be. Of course, we need to acknowledge that NHS mental health professionals are incredible but are having to work in poorly managed conditions with heavy caseloads!

With services so underfunded and overstretched, we need to pull together to help ourselves and each other. Sorry to smash the old cliché down your throat but – it’s okay not to be okay. People ARE there for you and WILL support you, if you allow them in to do so. Here’s another one: check in on your mates. As always, I’m here for all of you, whether you know me personally or not – please reach out to me if you need some help or even just a place to chat.

Love, E x

Why I Came Back To YouTube

pink flatlay muffins coffee cup and pot plant

A long time coming, bruhh.

Attempting to win the war with myself – #OneTwoFreeYourSkin

Girl in orange skirt lying on Brighton pebble beach with a drink

As I get older, the more clarity I seem to have on myself as a person. When each year passes, I know myself a little more and understand what makes me tick, what makes me joyous and what makes me sad. What is it they say? In youth we learn, in old age we understand.

Now, I’m only just 28 so I’m not quite over the hill yet! But what once may have made me sit in my bedroom struck with anxiety, unable to cope, may now become a small blip in my day, before I am able to simply move on. Issues such as friendship woes, career dips, a fight with my partner, or even what I see on the scales at the gym, I now look at through experienced eyes and fix the problem with consideration and tact.

Learning to love my body

Something I’m struggling slightly more with however, is the ability to love my own body and face. I’ve always felt I’m fighting a losing battle against myself. As I’m getting older too, the mirror has seen a lot of action whilst I poke and prod my face, worrying over new fine lines and wondering if I’ve always had that freckle.

I read a brilliant article in the Metro recently, about a girl learning to love herself. She said: “For so long, I pictured my body as temporary and so never made it a home…I didn’t touch it, feed it or love it properly, but focused on how little time I could spend in it.”

This really struck a chord with me and actually made me quite tearful. For so long, I have had this ‘ideal’ me in my head, waiting for the time when I finally become that person. In reality, I’ve been ignoring the person I truly am and missing the beauty of myself completely. I look back at pictures of myself at uni and see how wonderful I looked, although I can recall the struggle it would have taken me to leave the house that day. I wish I could tell her.

Skin communication

Something else I’ve learnt over the last couple of years is how much my body can tell me about how I feel. The bloating I once wrote off as ‘fat’ is now dealt with using a personalised diet plan, because my body wasn’t enjoying what I put into it. My skin, where once a flare-up of eczema on my eyelids, my thighs, my stomach would cause a flash of annoyance, now tells me that I’m super stressed about something. I now take a step back, analyse what might be upsetting me (as I may not have even realised it myself, yet) and then take action.

Of course, dealing with the problem helps, but the skin issue remains for a while. Again, experience comes with age. I used to think that stripping the skin with chems and exposing it to sunlight helped (please don’t – I know). I now have a wide range of products that help me when I’m having a flare-up, and I can usually combat any problem patches before it gets out of control. Something I think that really helps is the focus on good skincare in the media and the absolute transparency many brands have on which ingredients they use and what exactly they do.

Winning the war – eventually

I’m not a full-on lover of myself quite yet, although I’m all for supporting other women in their journeys to self-love. I always try to remember: no one is criticising you more than you are criticising yourself.

These things take time however, and when you’ve thought in a certain way for so long, it can be a hard habit to break. I think becoming more self-aware about the potential to love ourselves is a fantastic step forward – and something I’ll take as a win.

I’m looking forward to seeing what stage I’m at – where we’re ALL at – in another ten years. Fingers crossed we love ourselves completely, eczema and all.

This blog post was written as part of an Epaderm competition. Epaderm® is available online, in-store and on prescription.